Rodrigo Junqueira dos Reis Santoro (born 22 August 1975) is a Brazilian actor. He has appeared in many successful movies, including Brainstorm (2001), Carandiru (2003), Love Actually (2003), Che (2008), I Love You Phillip Morris (2009), and Rio (2011). He is perhaps most famous for his portrayal as Xerxes in the movie 300 (2006) and its subsequent sequel 300: Rise of an Empire (2014). He was also a series regular on the television series Lost portraying the character Paulo.
Life and career
Santoro was born in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro state, to Maria José Junqueira dos Reis, an artist, and Francesco Santoro, an engineer. His father is Italian and his mother is a Brazilian of Portuguese ancestry. In 1993, as Santoro was studying Journalism at PUC-Rio, he entered the Actor's Workshop of Rede Globo. Santoro went on to play parts in many of Globo's telenovelas, such as Olho no Olho (1993), Pátria Minha (1994), Explode Coração (1995), O Amor Está no Ar (1997), Suave Veneno (1999) and Mulheres Apaixonadas (2003), as well as the miniseries Hilda Furacão (1998), in the role of a priest. Santoro was also the voice actor of the titular character in Stuart Little and its sequel in the Brazilian dubbed copies.
His first major role in a cinema production came in 2001, with Bicho de Sete Cabeças (Brainstorm) by Brazilian director Laís Bodansky. By the end of the film, he received a standing ovation from the audience. He also went on to win the festival's best actor trophy. After Bicho, his reputation as an actor had been solidified and he was cast as the male lead in Abril Despedaçado (Behind the Sun), one of the nominees for best foreign film in the 2002 Golden Globe Awards. He had another performance in the 2003 Hector Babenco film Carandiru, where he played a transexual prisoner known as "Lady Di".
Canadian director Robert Allan Ackerman signed Santoro for his TV production The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone after being mesmerised by his performance in Bicho de Sete Cabeças. Since Santoro did not have an agent in North America, Ackerman contacted Santoro's father. He spent two months filming in Rome, alongside renowned actors such as Helen Mirren and Anne Bancroft. Soon after he finished shooting for Mrs. Stone, he received an offer from Columbia Pictures for a part in the blockbuster Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. His performance in Charlie's Angels kick-started his career in Hollywood. After Charlie's Angels, he played the character of Karl, the enigmatic chief designer and love interest of Laura Linney's character, in the romantic comedy Love Actually, which also features Colin Firth, Lucia Moniz, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, and Rowan Atkinson.
He also started getting work in the advertising business as he appeared in a commercial campaign with Gisele Bündchen in 2002. He played the male lead in No. 5 The Film, the 3-minute-long commercial for Chanel, directed by Baz Luhrmann alongside Nicole Kidman in 2004.
In 2006, Santoro joined the cast of Lost as survivor of Oceanic Flight 815, Paulo. His first appearance was in episode titled, "Further Instructions". His character was killed off in the episode "Exposé". He also voices his character Paulo in the Portuguese dub for Brazil.
Santoro was cast as Persian emperor Xerxes in the film 300, based on the Frank Miller comic of the same name, in 2006. The role had many special requirements, such as intensive workout for the physicality of the role (Santoro had lost 24 pounds to work in a Brazilian miniseries), extensive CG work to portray the 6'2" Santoro as the 7-foot God-King, a four-and-a-half-hour makeup application process and the complete removal of Santoro's body hair first by waxing and then by shaving when that proved too painful. His eyebrows were kept intact, however, covered over with prosthetics and drawn in rather than being shaved. Santoro read the works of Herodotus, an Ancient Greek historian, in order to prepare for his part. Regarding Xerxes, he has stated:
He's rich, he's arrogant, he's a very unstable megalomaniac. He just wants to conquer the world. His ambition is unlimited. He wants glory; he wants victory; he wants eternal fame. Underneath all that wanting, though, he's ultimately weak and very insecure.
For his role on 300, Santoro became the first Brazilian actor nominated to the MTV Movie Awards in the category of Best Villain. He did not win however, and the award went to Jack Nicholson for The Departed.
He played Garriga in the Will Smith drama film Focus (2015).
|1996||Depois do Escuro|
|1998||Como Ser Solteiro||Himself|
|1999||O Trapalhão e a Luz Azul||Musketeer|
|1999||Stuart Little||Stuart Little (voice)||Brazilian dub|
|2001||Bicho de Sete Cabeças||Wilson Souza Neto|
|2002||Stuart Little 2||Stuart Little (voice)||Brazilian dub|
|2003||The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone||Young Man|
|2003||Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle||Randy Emmers|
|2004||A Dona da História||Luiz Cláudio|
|2007||Não por Acaso||Pedro|
|2008||Live, love, laught, but...||Bellboy|
|2009||I Love You Phillip Morris||Jimmy Kemple|
|2009||Post Grad||David Santiago|
|2010||Talking with Dog|
|2010||Manual Para Se Defender de Alienígenas, Zumbis e Ninjas||Ninja|
|2010||There Be Dragons||Oriol|
|2011||Rio||Túlio/Soccer Announcer (voice)|
|2012||Hemingway & Gellhorn||Zarra|
|2012||Heleno||Heleno de Freitas|
|2012||Quem Se Importa||Narrador|
|2012||What To Expect When You're Expecting||Alex|
|2012||Reis e Ratos||Roni Rato|
|2013||The Last Stand||Frank Martinez|
|2013||Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury||Piatã / Júnior|
|2014||300: Rise of an Empire||Xerxes I|
|2014||Rio 2||Túlio (voice)|
|2014||Rio, I Love You||Ele|
|2015||The 33||Laurence Golborne|
|2016||Jane Got a Gun||Fitchum|
|1993||Olho no Olho||Pedro|
|1997||O Amor Está no Ar||Léo|
|1999||Suave Veneno||Eliseu Vieira|
|2001||Estrela-Guia||Carlos Charles Pimenta|
|2003||Mulheres Apaixonadas||Diogo Ribeiro Alves|
|1996||Sai de Baixo||Gama||Episode: "O Sexo Nosso de Cada Dia"|
|1996||A Comédia da Vida Privada||Episode: "Mulheres"|
|1998||Hilda Furacão||Frei Malthus|
|2001||Os Normais||Júlio||Episode: "Grilar é Normal"|
|2002||Pastores da Noite||Padre Gomes|
|2005||Hoje É Dia de Maria||Amado|
|Hoje É Dia de Maria - Segunda Jornada||Dom Chico Chicote|
|2006||Lost||Paulo||Regular; Season 3; 14 episodes|
|2009||Som & Fúria||Sanjay|
|2010||Afinal, o Que Querem as Mulheres?||Rodrigo Santoro|
|Papai Noel Existe||Robson Luiz|
|2012||As Brasileiras||Carioca||Episode: "A Indomável do Ceará"|
Awards and nominations
|2000||Festival de Brasília||Best Actor for Bicho de Sete Cabeças||Won|
|2001||Recife Film Festival||Won|
|Brazil Quality Award||Won|
|Santo Domingo Film Festival||Won|
|SESC Best Film Festival||Won|
|2002||Cinema Brazilian Grand Prix||Won|
|Cartagena Film Festival||Won|
|Cero Latitud Film Festival||Won|
|2003||Festival de Brasília||Best Actor for Carandiru||Won|
|2004||Cannes Film Festival||Chopard Trophy of Male Revelation||Won|
|2007||MTV Movie Awards||Best Villain for 300||Nominated|
|2011||Festival de Brasília||Best Actor for Meu País||Won|
|Havana Film Festival||Best Actor for Heleno||Won|
|2012||Lima Film Festival||Won|
|ALMA Awards||Best Actor for What to Expect When You're Expecting||Nominated|
Other nominations and honors
- 2004: On People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful list 2004.
- 2006: 12th position on People Magazine's 2006 Sexiest Man Alive.
- 2008: 16th position on E!'s 2008 Sexiest man of the world